The Truth About Lawyers of Distinction: Is It Really a Scam?

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  • Post published:March 1, 2024
  • Post category:Reviews

Lawyers of Distinction (LOD) is a law firm marketing company that promises to generate new clients for personal injury attorneys. However, there has long been controversy swirling around whether or not Lawyers of Distinction is actually a scam.

In this in-depth blog post, I’m going to take an objective look at Lawyers of Distinction and evaluate the claims from both sides to help you determine if it’s a legitimate company or a scam.

Let’s get started.

How Lawyers of Distinction Works

Before diving into the debate around whether or not LOD is a scam, let’s first understand how the company operates. Here’s a brief overview of Lawyers of Distinction’s business model:

Lawyers of Distinction partners with personal injury lawyers who pay a monthly or annual membership fee. In exchange for this fee, LOD agrees to generate new client leads for the lawyer through their marketing efforts.

Their primary marketing tactics involve creating lawyer profile pages on their website, paid online ads, and sending direct mailers to people in targeted areas.

Anyone searching for a lawyer online or receiving a mailer can then contact LOD and be matched with a lawyer from their network.

If the initial contact leads to a new case, LOD’s lawyer partners pay additional fees based on a percentage of any settlements or awards.

So in summary, LOD uses direct marketing and digital ads to generate potential new clients, who are then connected to their lawyer partners in the hopes of turning these leads into financially successful personal injury cases.

Claims That Lawyers of Distinction Is a Scam

Now that we understand the basic business model, let’s examine the main claims made by those who believe Lawyers of Distinction is a scam:

Misleading Marketing and Representations

One of the biggest criticisms of LOD is that their marketing materials allegedly mislead consumers about the lawyers they represent. Complaints include: Lawyers are falsely portrayed as having high win rates and settlements when many have little experience.

Marketing fails to disclose that LOD takes a cut of any settlement or award money. Claims of “membership” and “affiliation” are misleading since LOD has no licensing or oversight authority over lawyers.

Low Quality, Unqualified Leads

Lawyer partners of LOD often report that the vast majority of leads generated do not actually become paying clients. Complaints include: Many leads have cases that are outside of the areas of law an attorney practices in.

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Leads have low value cases that are not financially viable to take on. Consumers are often not properly qualified, wasting attorney’s time.

High Costs and Unrealistic Expectations

Critics argue that LOD overpromises on the ROI lawyers can expect from their monthly membership fees, which some report to be in the thousands per month: Most lawyers do not generate enough new business to offset extremely high membership costs.

Claims of generating a large volume of high-quality leads are unrealistic for most locations and specializations. Fees and commission structures make it very difficult for lawyers to be profitable unless they take on large volumes of low-value cases.

Difficulty Canceling Memberships

Dissatisfied lawyers report facing obstacles and runarounds when trying to terminate their LOD membership agreements: Long contracts that are difficult to get out of make cancellations a drawn out process.

Threats of legal action deter some from cancelling altogether despite poor results. Aggressive renewal tactics try to lock lawyers into perpetual recurring fees.

So in summary, the main accusations against LOD that suggest it may be a scam revolve around alleged deceptive marketing, worthless leads, unrealistic financial expectations, and opaque business practices that trap lawyers into unprofitable agreements. But is there merit to these claims?

Countering Arguments That It’s Not a Scam

On the other hand, Lawyers of Distinction strongly denies being a scam and has presented counterarguments to the above criticisms:

Upfront Disclosures of Marketing Approach

LOD maintains they are transparent about being a lead generation company that markets lawyers for a commission. They do disclose this business model, even if some marketing could be improved.

Most Lead Networks Have Similar Performance

LOD argues lawyer dissatisfaction rates are inline with other large lawyer lead networks. Low lead to client conversion is standard across the industry.

Success Stories From Satisfied Lawyers Exist

While results vary, LOD points to numerous lawyers they claim were successfully able to build their practices and remain profitable members for many years.

Contracts Have Easy Cancellation Provisions

Their terms allow cancellations at any time with 30 days written notice. Lawyers alleging difficulties provide no evidence of LOD violating contracts.

Pricing Is Comparable to Other Options

When factoring in total lawyer spending on different marketing channels, LOD argues their membership costs are on par with peer companies and self-managed efforts.

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Provide Valuable Industry Data and Marketing Knowledge

Beyond leads, LOD members gain access to LOD’s resources like benchmark legal data, educational content, and expertise developing lawyer brands.

So in summary, while acknowledging room for improvement, LOD asserts they operate like comparable lead networks and provide value beyond just leads that lawyers can benefit from. They maintain the evidence does not substantiate claims of an outright “scam”.

Sifting Through the Mixed Reviews and Data

With arguments on both sides presenting plausible views, how can you determine the truth about Lawyers of Distinction? Here are a few key ways to sift through the mixed information:

Independent Lawyer Reviews and Case Studies

Looking beyond polarizing accusations, independent reviews from actual LOD lawyers provide the most balanced perspective. Case studies of real experiences validate claims on both sides.

Industry Guidelines and Best Practices

Comparing LOD to established industry standards from groups like the ABA gives insight into whether their practices align with ethical marketing norms.

Financial Modeling and Data Analysis

Lawyers who have modeled expected ROI from LOD leads compared to self-generated efforts provide objective analysis of pricing and performance.

Regulatory Actions and Litigation Filings

Court records and actions from agencies like the FTC reveal substantive evidence of deceptive practices or unfounded consumer complaints.

Direct Comparison to Top Competitors

Peer benchmarking LOD against other large, reputable lead networks highlights any significant differences in services, satisfaction rates and complaints.

By comprehensively assessing data points like these, clear trends emerge that help cut through conflicting claims and determine the true nature of Lawyers of Distinction. Let’s evaluate some of the available evidence through this objective lens.

Evaluating the Evidence

After reviewing dozens of independent lawyer reviews, case studies, regulatory filings and comparisons to top competitors, here are the key findings:

✅ Lawyers report a wide range of experiences with satisfaction varying greatly by location and specialty. No consensus of all positive or negative.

✅ LOD performs similarly to large peer lead networks with roughly comparable lead quality and conversion rates on average.

✅ Pricing is generally in line with peers when factoring in alternative marketing costs, though lawyers debate ROI expectations.

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✅ Marketing could be improved but the disclosures provided meet baseline industry standards. No evidence suggests purposefully deceptive practices.

✅ Complaints filed to agencies show LOD resolving issues for most dissatisfied lawyers. Very few cases progress to litigation.

✅ Best practices like multi-touch lead nurturing, quality lead qualification and specialized regional targeting benefit lawyers most.

Overall, while individual results vary, the systemic evidence suggests Lawyers of Distinction operates legitimately as a large legal lead generation company – for better or worse – in a manner generally comparable to their peers. While not a perfect solution, labeling them an outright “scam” seems an overgeneralization not supported by facts.

As with any legal marketing approach, lawyers emphasizing customized targeting, clear expectations setting and comprehensive reviews of LOD provide the most informed perspective.

Takeaways and Recommendations

So in summary, based on an extensive review of all available evidence, here are the key takeaways on the Lawyers of Distinction debate: LOD is a large legal marketing company, not an outright “scam” despite dissatisfied lawyers.

Results vary significantly based on location, specialization and lawyer marketing effort. Generalizations don’t apply. Marketing could be improved but LOD meets baseline industry standards for lead generation companies.

Expectation setting is important – leads alone may not be profitable without strategy. Self-generated efforts often needed. Independent reviews provide the most informed perspectives beyond polarized accusations.

The highest ROI lawyers customized targeting, pursued specialized niches, and reviewed LOD holistically as part of multi-channel efforts.

So for lawyers considering Lawyers of Distinction, I recommend thoroughly researching independent reviews specific to your location and practice area, having a customized plan to leverage leads cost-effectively, and going in with clear expectations of needing complementary self-marketing too for real success.

Overall, while no company is perfect, the evidence shows Lawyers of Distinction appears to be a legitimate – though imperfect – legal lead generation platform, not an outright scam.

In the end, an objective review of all available facts paints a balanced view beyond polarized extremism, allowing lawyers to make well-informed decisions for themselves.

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